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Category Archives: Education

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Congress Eliminates Obama-Era Regulations on Teacher Preparation Programs

President Trump signed into law on March 27 a joint resolution to nullify U.S. Department of Education (ED) regulations relating to teacher preparation programs pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (CRA).  As noted in its Statement of Administration Policy, the White House “strongly supports the actions taken . . . to begin to nullify unnecessary

Regional Accrediting Agency Proposes Ban on Paying Recruiters of International Students

On March 27, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (“Middle States”) released for public comment a draft policy on its expectations for honesty and truthfulness in published information and in student recruitment practices. Among other things, the policy would prohibit Middle States-accredited institutions from paying commissions to agents to recruit international students. Middle States

OIG: U.S. Department of Education Must Do More to Police the Financial Condition of Colleges and Universities.

Last week, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that it had analyzed data released by the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) and concluded that 177 private colleges and universities failed ED’s financial responsibility regulations: 112 not-for-profit and 65 for-profit. The Chronicle’s reporting comes on the heels of a February 24, 2017 Office of Inspector General

U.S. Department of Education Publishes Procedures for Group Borrower Defense Claims

On 19 January, the U.S. Department of Education published regulations to establish procedural rules governing certain proceedings under the Department’s borrower defense regulations and to update the Department’s related hearing procedures for actions to establish liability against a higher education institution. The regulations were effective immediately on 19 January, but the Department will accept comments

U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Withdraw Guidance on Transgender Students

On February 22, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice (“ED” and “DOJ,” respectively, and collectively, the “Departments”) issued a two-page Dear Colleague Letter to “withdraw and rescind” policy and guidance reflected in two documents issued by the Obama Administration. Those guidance documents interpreted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) and its

HHS Overhauls the Common Rule to Enhance Protection for Human Subjects in Research

On January 18, 2017, as one of the last actions of the outgoing Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and fifteen other federal agencies (the “Agencies”) issued a final rule overhauling the regulations (82 Fed. Reg. 7149, Jan. 19, 2017) intended to safeguard individuals participating in research, often referred to

U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance on Student Eligibility for Closed School Discharge

On December 7, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) issued an Electronic Announcement providing guidance about the eligibility requirements that apply if a student wishes to receive a closed school discharge of a Title IV loan. In general, a student borrower may receive a discharge of a Title IV loan if the borrower (1)

U.S. Department of Education Denies Charlotte School of Law Recertification for Federal Student Aid Eligibility

On December 19, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) announced that following an 18-month review, it had denied Charlotte School of Law (“CSL”) recertification to participate in federal student financial aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The denial ended CSL’s participation in the Title IV programs effective December 31, 2016.

U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance on Third-Party Servicers

On August 18, the U.S. Department of Education issued a series of questions and answers related to “third-party servicers”.  This recent guidance follows the issuance of a Dear Colleague Letter in January 2015 that addressed institutional responsibilities and requirements for institutions participating in the Title IV federal student financial aid programs that choose to enter

U.S. Department of Education Launches New Feedback System for Federal Student Aid

On July 1, the U.S. Department of Education launched the Federal Student Aid Feedback System, an online portal that allows federal student aid customers to submit complaints, provide positive feedback, and report allegations of suspicious activity regarding the federal student aid programs. The Feedback System was identified as a primary objective of the “Student Aid Bill of Rights” proposed by President Obama in March of 2015.

This new feedback system is part of a larger effort by ED to enhance its oversight and enforcement capabilities with regards to student loan borrowing. Although it does not create any new requirements for institutions participating in the federal student financial aid programs, the feedback system will provide new avenues for customers to alert ED about potential compliance issues or misconduct.

Beyond Bathrooms: New Guidance Regarding Transgender Students Addresses FERPA Requirements

The U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice recently weighed in on the obligations of school districts, colleges, and universities to provide civil rights protections for transgender students. On May 13, 2016, the Departments issued a Dear Colleague Letter that summarizes the responsibilities of school districts, colleges, and universities that receive federal financial assistance under the Departments’ interpretation of federal law, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. Here, we focus on the DCL’s guidance pertinent to compliance with FERPA.

Drones on Campus: FAA Opens Door to Expanded Student Drone Use in the Classroom

Colleges and universities across the country are finding new and innovative ways to use drones in the classroom. While speaking at the AUVSI annual conference in New Orleans this morning, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the release of a new Legal Interpretation that will expand the scope of permissible unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations by students and educational institutions.

Court of Appeals Rejects Challenge to Gainful Employment Rule

On March 8, a the three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision rejecting a challenge to the U.S. Department of Education’s “gainful employment” regulations. The regulations, which took effect July 1, 2015 (with the exception of certain disclosure requirements that will take effect

NSF and NASA Remind Grantee Institutions to Comply with Title IX

On January 25, the National Science Foundation issued a statement to remind the 2,000 colleges, universities, and other institutions that receive NSF funding that NSF requires its awardees to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which prohibits educational funding recipients from engaging in sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and gender violence.

NSF’s statement, which follows multiple recent reports of sexual harassment in the science community, “reiterates [NSF’s] unwavering dedication to inclusive workplaces. NSF does not tolerate sexual harassment and encourages members of the scientific community who experience such harassment to report such behavior immediately.” NSF also encouraged NSF-funded researchers and students to “hold colleagues accountable to the standards and conditions set forth in Title IX, and to inform their institutions of violations.” NSF directs people who experience or witness harassment to contact their Title IX Coordinator or NSF’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Justice Department Settles Fair Housing Act Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination in On-Campus Housing

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on January 4 that Kent State University (KSU) has agreed to pay $145,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that KSU had a policy that prevented students with psychological disabilities from keeping emotional support animals in university-operated student housing.  This settlement follows a decision by the United States District Court

New HHS OIG Work Plan Indicates Focus on Subrecipient Monitoring

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) recently released its Work Plan for Fiscal Year 2016. The Work Plan discusses OIG’s anticipated reviews and audits of HHS programs and operations over the coming year. As is typical, the FY 2016 Work Plan includes many items of interest to recipients

USAID Implements New Grant Regulations, Clarifies Applicability to Foreign and For-Profit Awardees

Hogan Lovells Government Contracts Associate Ogechi Achuko contributed to this post. On 17 September 2015, USAID finalized its regulatory supplement to the OMB “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards”, often referred to as the Uniform Guidance.  USAID’s regulations largely are consistent with the OMB Uniform Guidance at 2 CFR part

Hogan Lovells Issues Sponsored Research Alert on Proposed Changes to Federal Policy for Protection of Human Subjects

Hogan Lovells has issued a Sponsored Research Alert outlining a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that seeks to amend the U.S. Government’s policy on protection of human research subjects.  As the Alert describes: The NPRM would substantially change, in several respects, the regulatory framework with which universities and research

Student Privacy and Drone Policy: Vote for Hogan Lovells at SXSW 2016

Austin, Texas is renowned for its live music scene, clean air, college vibe … and of course its technology conferences. Two Hogan Lovells Lawyers—Bret Cohen and Lisa Ellman—have made the list of finalists for panels at the South by Southwest group of conferences this upcoming March, to talk about Student Privacy and Domestic Drone Policy.

Department of Education OCR Releases Guidance on Title IX Coordinator(s)

On April 24, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released a three-document guidance package regarding the role and responsibility of Title IX coordinators. As summarized in a statement by Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, the guidance package emphasizes the responsibility of school districts, colleges, and universities to designate a

Office for Civil Rights Issues New Case Processing Manual

At the end of February 2015, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a new Case Processing Manual, which updates (and supersedes) its 2010 manual. As described in the manual’s introduction, it provides “the procedures to promptly and effectively investigate and resolve complaints, compliance reviews and directed investigations to ensure compliance with

U.S. Department of Education Delays Implementation of Certain State Authorization Requirements until July 1, 2015

On June 24, the U.S. Department of Education further delayed the implementation date for certain state authorization regulations for colleges and universities that have been unable to meet the requirements of those regulations—so long as (1) the state in which the college or university is located is working to establish an acceptable authorization process that